Libya after Gaddafi: The Nightmare Continues…
The assassination of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, according to the International Community, had for objective to get the Libyan people out of the hands of a dictator for a better tomorrow. The “animal” is dead but obviously not its venom; Libyans continue to pay the heavy price … two years later.
The country in brief
Libya is a state of North Africa and part of the Maghreb. It is bordered to the north by the Mediterranean Sea, the west by Tunisia and Algeria, the south by Niger and Chad and to the east by Sudan and Egypt. Its area covers 1,759,540 square kilometres. In the ranking of the largest countries, Libya is in the fourth place in Africa and the eighteenth in the world. Because the inside of the country is desert, its population is concentrated on the coasts and is estimated between 6 and 8 million. Its capital, Tripoli, is the largest city with 1.8 million inhabitants. Other important cities are: Benghazi (650,000 inhabitants), Misrata (over 350,000 inhabitants) and El-Beida (250 000 inhabitants). Libyans are mostly mixed Arab-Berber culture and Sunni Muslims.
The gross domestic product of Libya is one of the highest in Africa. Its economy relies heavily on oil export which is in abundance in the ground. It is a member, among others, of the Arab League, the Arab Maghreb Union and OPEC.
In 1951, Libya declared its independence as a monarchy ruled by Idris the 1st. It was overthrown by a military coup in 1969: the monarchy was abolished, and gave way to the Libyan Arab Republic. It is a young army captain of 27 years old who is in charge and declares himself colonel, also introducing the Republic. For almost 42 years, Libya is ruled by Muammar Gaddafi, who in 1977 changed the name of the country to Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. Gaddafi intends to develop a policy calling for pan-Arabism and socialism. This leads him to try many “mergers” with its neighbors Egypt, Tunisia, Chad, Sudan. Without success.
In 2011, as part of protests in the Arab world, a rebellion breaks out and overthrows Gaddafi. Libya is now a parliamentary republic directed by a provisional government led by Mohamed Youssef el-Megaryef.
A nostalgic return to the Gaddafi era
The Libyan economy is heavily dependent on oil, 58% of Libya’s GDP comes from the black gold and its derivatives. GDP per capita in 2010 was 13,800 dollars, making it one of the richest countries per capita in the Arab world, this figure is explained by a relatively small population. Most of the oil is exported to Europe (85%), and some European countries are highly dependent such as Ireland, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and France, which imports more than 15% of their oil from Libya.
Under the reign of the “Libyan leader,” Libya is considered a rich country with a relatively well-educated population: the literacy rate is 83%. Very few people have the honesty to tell the absolute truth about the “Libyan leader” under the misleading pretext that he was a dictator. A dictator, maybe, but who handled deftly the carrot and the stick.
Think again. Far is the idea to clear the memory of Gaddafi to the world. But some of his works did. In Africa, he has built schools, hospitals, massive investments in banks, financial donations in various African countries, and beyond. Was it not the kingpin of the “Pan-Africanism”? This ideological conception that would allow every African to feel part of a community sharing the same aspirations because living the same realities. He held the emergence of the African Union to the point of granting 15% of the budget of this institution. He also planned to inject billions into an African Monetary Fund in order to make the Continent independent from the IMF. This is perhaps the real reason for his loss. Before the war, Libya was the most developed countries in Africa and hosted an impressive number of foreigners.
Despite the common difficulties, such as unemployment, corruption, etc. common to all the world’s richest countries themselves, most Libyans lived under the welfare state: education, health care and other for all and practically free. Gaddafi was perhaps a demon. But a demon that lived in a paradise, his country. It is now distant time when Libyans could walk the streets of Tripoli. Even at the time of Gaddafi. What about today?
Libya, after the good times…
The President of the Criminal Court of Appeal of Derna, Mohamed Ibrahim was killed in cold blood by unknown gunmen Sunday, June 16, 2013. Such incidents are now in the daily lives of Libyans. There are no days without attacks by unidentified persons in Libya. This is trivial, you could say in terms of number of deaths relayed every day in Syria, Palestine … But it is very unfortunate that these poor people are victims of a “conspiracy” for other unsuspected motives and then varnished at the colors of justice.
It was in February 2011 that a revolt broke out, supported by an international intervention against the regime in Tripoli. The uprising in August 2011 which resulted in the capital and most of Libyan territory falling to the rebels is seen as a “game”. But it is clear. The wind of the “Arab Spring” that blows in neighboring countries ended up getting the better of Libyans. All of this by simply following the mass.
We will not judge on intentions rather than acts this time, speculating on the responsibility of all those who participated in the punitive expedition of the Libyan dictator. But on behalf of the people, we hate them for making an entire nation a no man’s land, where misery, insecurity, murder and poverty are established. In fact, what was the point of the shared sacrifice?
Perhaps to convince each other that the “demon” is not always what you imagine. Libya is now a preferred destination for investors, because everything has to be rebuilt. The only problem is insecurity.
Libya has apparently not survived after his guide. It is now soulless and shows more disorder than authority. In order to hope for a solution, the bet is on the regional balance, with a real transfer of skills between Tripoli, Benghazi and Derna, which remain the largest areas of the country. In the name of who and what did we sacrifice Gaddafi? The question is still unanswered. But God will recognize his own.